Football is back and so is deep fried food! Along with barbecue, deep-fried food is a game day favorite. There are lots of fun and delicious recipes, but before you start experimenting with various foods you can fry, read these basic tips for safe cooking and perfect fried food!
Picking the right cooking oil
Deep frying requires an oil that has a high ‘smoke point’, which means the oil will not breakdown at deep frying temperatures. Peanut, safflower, sunflower, and canola are good choices and they have high smoke points. If you chose peanut oil make sure you’re not preparing food for someone who has a peanut allergy.
Some sources say that you can reuse the cooking oil after you have cooked with it, but for the best frying it’s better not to. The oil has already begun to break down from the heat, and undesirable compounds like trans fats have formed. Let the oil cool completely, then discard safely. Once the oil is dumped you can clean your deep fryer and store it away until you need to use it again.
Maintaining the Temperature
The best temperature for frying is between 350°F and 375°F. Frying at this temperature will help keep oil absorption to a minimum, which cuts back on fat and calories.
The oil temperature can rise quickly between the smoke point and the flash point. A majority of oils reach their flash point at about 600°F. If oil continues to be heated to higher temperatures it will reach its fire point, causing a full-blown blaze.
Hot oil is nothing to mess with, so a quality deep-fry thermometer is an essential piece of equipment. Use it to accurately gauge and consistently maintain the temperature of your oil. If you do reach a fire point, turn heat off immediately and cover with metal lid. If you do not have a large metal lid, baking soda will work on flames as well. DO NOT USE WATER. Pouring water can cause oil to splash and spread fire.
- Before you start dropping your food in the fryer, preheat your oven to a low setting. You can keep your already fried foods warm on the rack in the oven, while you are cooking the next batch
- Water and oil don’t mix. Believe it or not adding water to hot oil can actually cause an explosion. Keep your cooking area clean and dry. Do not keep water around or on a shelf above your deep fryer. All foods should be patted dry with a paper towel before they are dropped into the hot oil. If you are using a wet batter, such as for onion rings, be sure to shake off any excess batter before frying to guarantee splatter-free success.
- Do not fill your fryer more than halfway with oil. This will ensure that there will be no dangerous bubbling over when your food is added. Overloading your deep fryer with food can also cause it to bubble over. Not only will you risk your fryer bubbling over, but the extra food causes the temperature to drop as well, leaving you with greasy and soggy food. Deep fried food must be surrounded by hot oil at the correct temperature for the best results.
- Salt is an essential ingredient in any deep-frying recipe; however, timing is everything when it comes to seasoning. Never salt a food before deep-frying it, as the salt will draw moisture (remember water and oil don’t mix) to the food’s surface and cause the hot oil to splatter. Salt also lowers the smoke point of oil, which in turn breaks down the oil molecules much quicker. Always salt a food immediately after removing it from the hot oil, when it has the best chance of sticking to the food.
I hope you found these tips helpful. Enjoy frying up your food and remember safety first when you are cooking. Now go drop some wings in the fryer before the game starts!
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